What We Saw: Week 8

It's backup QB SZN

Dolphins @ Bills

Final Score: Dolphins 11, Bills 26

Writer: Chris Sanzo (@Doombot12_FF on Twitter)

 

For a game that had a two-score spread, the Dolphins were surprisingly competitive for the entire game. Their problem was themselves and they became their own worst enemy. The first two Dolphins’ drives were spoiled by a short missed field goal and then a 13-play drive that only moved 25 yards because of three penalties. This became a theme. They had over 40 plays in the first half and every first-half drive had 10 plays or a score. Despite this, they still only had three points going into the half, and never created separation with the Bills. All those squandered opportunities eventually cost them, as the Bills left with the win, 26-11.

 

 

Miami Dolphins

 

Quarterback

 

Tua Tagovailoa: 21/39, 205 yards, INT | 4 carries, 10 yards, TD

 

“Tua under pressure” will be a phrase I won’t get out of my mind anytime soon. Every time he took the snap, he had pressure in his face. He threw with more purpose today, as many of his throws were into tight coverage. His receivers were getting no separation and on the off-chance they did, Tua didn’t see them. The offensive line and pass-catchers operated with such extreme ineptitude, it’s actually astounding how they stayed in the game as long as they did. It’s clear that this coaching staff is not prepared, as the on-field adjustments and constant vanilla motion across the line offered nothing in terms of disguising their scheme. Regardless of all the negative factors around him, Tua needs to be able to see the field better under pressure, or as the Dolphins call it, every time they snap the ball.

 

Running Backs

 

Myles Gaskin: 12 carries, 36 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

Salvon Ahmed: 7 carries, 22 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

Patrick Laird: 1 target, 1 reception, 10 yards

 

Myles Gaskin was elusive and electric when he was given the hint of a running lane. At the point of contact, he ran with violence. It was one of the more impressive efforts he’s put on tape in those regards, despite not getting rewarded with a trip to the end zone. He was a reliable outlet and was their best player in the first half. They played mostly from behind in the second half and he was slowly phased out from the Dolphins’ offense as they tried to play catch-up.

Patrick Laird‘s usage was somewhat troublesome. He received an unhealthy amount of snaps in true passing sets and is their least dynamic skill position player. He received one official and one unofficial target and caught both, picking up decent gains on each, but six combined targets for Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed are just not enough when Tua can’t get a full two seconds to pass. They never bothered to attempt to slow down the blitz with screens, and Laird left the backfield enough that he wasn’t necessarily in there for his blocking. It was a convoluted game plan.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

DeVante Parker: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 85 yards

Jaylen Waddle: 12 targets, 4 receptions, 29 yards

Mike Gesicki: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 48 yards

Adam Shaheen: 1 target, 1 reception, 8 yards

Isaiah Ford: 1 target, 0 receptions, 0 yards

Mack Hollins: 1 target, 0 receptions, 0 yards

 

This group was more of a detriment than a help. The lone bright spot was Devante Parker. He played strong at the catch point, bailing out Tua on more than one occasion. He was one of the only receivers on the same page as Tua as even the commentators noticed how jarring it was that the receiving corps seemed lost. Though they weren’t able to manufacture much in terms of open looks for him, he was able to show off his strength, winning contested catches,

It does not make up for this entire group’s inability to separate. There were very few openings that weren’t just passes in the flat to Waddle three yards from the LoS and on the few times there were, Tua was never given time to get there on his read progression.

Mike Gesicki was part of the best and worst play for the Dolphins today. Late in the 2nd, the Dolphins turned the ball over when Gesicki was hit with the snap during his motion on the play. It was something that nearly happened a couple of other times today and looking further into it makes it even worse. The play came after a timeout and Gesicki was moving players around the formation. The one positive was Tua hitting him in stride for 40 yards. It should be noted, he ended with 48 total yards.

 

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

 

Josh Allen: 29/42, 249 yards, 2 TD | 8 carries, 55 yards, TD

 

The Bills nearly had as many points as Miami had yards in the 3rd Quarter. What happened? Allen remembered he’s 2021 Josh Allen and not 2019 Josh Allen and completely decimated the Dolphins in the air and on the ground. He was their leading rusher, mainly because of one big 34-yard scramble where he had more green to work with than the Masters, but his damage was mostly done with his arm. The most noticeable difference in Allen’s progress has been his ability to know when to spread the ball around and when to exploit a matchup. The Dolphins have strong outside cornerbacks, so the Bills did something unheard of in the modern NFL: they game-planned against it. It made all the difference in the second half, as Allen never lost the rhythm he gained entering the second half.

 

Running Backs

 

Devin Singletary: 7 carries, 28 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 1 yard

Zack Moss: 8 carries, 19 yards | 7 targets, 6 reception, 39 yards

 

Buffalo never got much going on the ground and, even in short-yardage situations, it was all Allen. Both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss were given no running lanes and were pounding their heads into brick walls all day. Even in heavy sets, the Dolphins were meeting them in the backfield. Their one big play on the ground was a 34-yard scramble by Allen.

Moss in the passing game was the alter ego to Moss’ rush game persona. He looked like he was running with cement shoes when he took the handoff, but was reliable in the air and especially early, was Allen’s only playmaker. Singletary did not even have that to his name today.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Stefon Diggs: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 40 yards, TD

Cole Beasley: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 110 yards

Gabriel Davis: 5 targets, 4 reception, 29 yards, TD

Emmanuel Sanders: 4 targets, 0 receptions, 0 yards,

Tommy Sweeney: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards

 

As previously mentioned, Allen has been improving at spreading the ball around and outside of one stretch to Cole Beasley, he did just that, with targets of 4-4-5-7 for 29-30-40-0? Allen and Beasley had an impressive game in terms of chemistry and with good reason. Beasley’s ability to create separation was only part of the equation, as he also converted first downs seemingly every time he touched the ball. He never gave up on the plays, fighting for every yard he could, converting in big spots.

That 0 was Emmanuel Sanders. Unofficially, he had at least six targets, but the refs couldn’t hold back the laundry from hitting the field. He was targeted at every level but failed to bring in any official catches. It was a discouraging game for fantasy managers, but his involvement in the passing game is not reflective of his stat line.

Both Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis scored but neither were able to make much of an impact. Diggs caught designed screens and slants, never getting a shot at any downfield splashes. Davis’ touchdown was on a wide-open pass floated over by Allen where he seemed like the 3rd target, forgotten by Miami.

 

 

Chris Sanzo (@Doombot12_FF on Twitter)

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